Category Archives: Buildings

Mitcham Post Offices

Eric Montague said in his book Mitcham Histories : 12 Church Street and Whitford Lane, page 107, that Mitcham’s post office had occupied 5 locations, as listed below:

1st : at Westhall’s grocery shop in the Broadway

The 1855 directory shows the postal services available:

It lists Joseph WESTALL as grocer and cheesemonger as well as the post office receiving house in Lower Mitcham.

2nd : in a small shop near Mitcham Station

This photo from 1895 shows part of the words ‘Post Office’ above the shop.

clip from Merton Memories, photo reference Mit_Public_Services_18-2, copyright London Borough of Merton

3rd : a purpose built building in the Broadway

The words ‘Post Office’ can be seen etched in the windows on the building on the right in this photo of around 1910:

clip from Meton Memories, photo reference Mit_streets_Lon_38-25, copyright London Borough of Merton

According to Eric Montague in his book Mitcham Histories : 4 Lower Mitcham, pages 127-8, this post office was

erected in about 1900 … a three-storeyed building … its rather fussy facade including false timber framing to simulate an Elizabethan structure.”

4th : Post Office and Telephone Exchange building on the corner of London Road and Elmwood Road

Built around 1920, shown here in this 1953 photo:

clip from Merton Memories photo, reference Mit_Streets_Lon_38-46, copyright London Borough of Merton

5th : Langdale Parade

In 1961 the post office moved to Langdale Parade in the Fair Green. The telephone exchange building remains.

Currently, in 2019, the Langdale Parade post office has to a smaller shop nearby at number 5:

Post Office at no. 5 Langdale Parade. Photo taken 23rd April 2019

Gorringe Park House

Clip from Merton Memories photo, reference Mit_​Churches_​3-1, copyright London Borough of Merton

This photo shows the conservatory to the left, and the part of the curved drive leading to the entrance. Both of these features can be seen on this 1911 OS map:

1911 OS map

According to Eric Montague in his Mitcham Histories : 2 North Mitcham, page 91:

Built on the site of Biggin Farm, Gorringe Park House, was a substantial three-storied three-bay brick and slate roofed mansion in the modified version of the Italianate style which had become popular in the 1850s. The farmyard, complete with its piggeries, rickyard and barns, was retained, but the meadows and orchards in the immediate vicinity of the house were transformed to form gardens and parkland.

William John Harris, for whom the new house seems to have been built … in the 1871 census his occupation was listed as ‘Landed Proprietor’ and in the 1881 census stated his ‘Income From Land House Property’ … was related to the Moore family.


Maps are reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.

189/191 London Road

189-191 London Road, Mitcham CR4 2JB, was built in 1962/3 in front of the Mitcham Baptist Church.

c.1987 clip from Merton Memories photo reference Mit_​8_​1-25 copyright London Borough of Merton

Previously there was open space in front of the church which is set back from the road, as shown in this 1951 OS map:

1952 OS map

Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

Norwood News, 5th October 1962 via the British Newspaper Archive

Mitcham Preparatory School and Kindergarten

clip from Merton Memories photo, reference Mit_Buildings_23-1, copyright London Borough of Merton.

This photo is of a pair of buildings north of, and adjacent to the Tom Francis London House stores, on London Road. The right hand one may be the Mitcham Preparatory School and Kindergarten. This OS map of 1910 shows London House on the west (left hand) side of the London Road, opposite Langdale Avenue (where the ’67’ is shown at the bottom of the map). A pair of buildings can be seen north of London House.

1910 OS map

Another clue is the entry in the 1911 street directory. This describes the buildings on the west side, going south from Tooting Junction station to the river Wandle. It lists no buildings after Upper Green until the Kindergarten and Primrose Cottage before getting to Thomas Francis, outfitter.

extract from the 1911 street directory

A further clue is what looks like a notice board near the entrance to the right-hand property.

Merton Memories also has a photo of the rear of this building.


Maps are reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.

256 and 254 London Road

Building divided into two shops with flats above, on west side of London Road, opposite the White Lion of Mortimer pub (formerly the Bucks Head). Numbered from north to south, 254 is on the right and 256 on the left as viewed from the street. Before 1926/7 this part of London Road was called Mitcham High Street, and the numbers ran south to north.

256 on left and 254 on right, London Road, Mitcham. Photo taken August 2017.

This photo, before 1980 or so, showed two features on the top of the building:

This photo from 1895 shows that before this was built stood the drapery shop of Mrs Lack and Mr Cummings greengrocers, see directory listing below.

1895 clip of Merton Memories photo reference Mit_​Streets_​Lon_​38-14 copyright London Borough of Merton

Before being renumbered in 1926, this part of the London Road was called Mitcham High Street. From the 1891 directory (the shops were numbered from 1 going north):

1, Henry COLLBRAN, butcher
2, S.E. BURTON, stationer
3, Charles GOULD, The Kings’ Arms Public House
4, Mrs H. LACK, draper
5, John CUMMINGS, greengrocer
6, Joseph COOK, butcher
7, T.P. SHEPPARD, grocer
8, William BARTER, grocer
9, George Joseph DALE, news agent

— here is Sibthorpe Road

In the 1930 commercial directory, John CUMMINGS is still listed as greengrocer at number 254, hence 4 High Street became number 256.


Maps are reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.

South Suburban Co-Op, 37/39 Upper Green East

Numbers 37 and 39, Upper Green East, is a single building with, currently in 2018, a Cost Cutter shop with flats above. The postcode is CR4 2PF.

The co-op was not listed in the 1930 commercial directory, but is in the 1938 edition, with a telephone number of 3937.

It is presumed that this was built in the mid 1930s by the South Suburban Co-operative Society, which was a co-op based in Croydon. The society merged in 1984 into the Co-operative Wholesale Society. This ad from 1936 doesn’t give the address, but may be referring to this building:

1936 ad


Maps are reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.

Leo’s Ice Cream

Leo’s Ice Cream bar was at number 317 London Road, next to the King’s Head pub. It was part of a block, numbered 317 to 321. Eric Montague said in his Mitcham Histories: 4 Lower Mitcham, page 130, that the block was demolished in 1977-80 and replaced by a building called Boundary House. Currently, in 2018, this houses the Job Centre.

Leo’s Cafe, was run by Lionel (Leo) Dimashio. He also had a fleet of ice cream vans, see the 1959 news item below.

Image courtesy of Collage - The London Picture Library - http://collage.cityoflondon.gov.uk

1973 Image courtesy of Collage – The London Picture Library – http://collage.cityoflondon.gov.uk

1960 Leos Cafe

1960 Clip from Merton Memories photo 51737 Copyright London Borough of Merton

1953 OS map


The following family background is from a family tree on Ancestry.com by kind permission of Leo’s father-in-law’s granddaughter, who resides in Australia.

When Tommaso Perrotta arrived in the UK from Italy, he changed his name to Thomas Perrott. It was he who started the ice cream business. When his daughter Adelina married Lionello DiMascio in 1931, Thomas and Lionello went into business together and were life-long friends. Lionello changed his surname to Dimashio, and used Leo as his first name. Leo was born in Lanarkshire in 1905, and died in Italy in 1982, aged 76.

Leo Dimashio and his wife Adelina in March 1931

From the Norwood News, 9th March 1962

Miss Adelia Lucia Dimashio, youngest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. L. Dimashio, London Road, Mitcham, was married to Terence John O’Leary, youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. H. O’Leary, Tavistock Crescent, Mitcham, at the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, Mitcham, on Thursday last week. Carrying a bouquet of white roses and lilies of the valley, the bride wore a full-length gown of silk and Nottingham lace. She wore a pearl coronet with a silk tulle veil. Matron of honour was Mrs. Sylvia Ferrari, the bride’s sister. She wore a chiffon dress and coat. Bridesmaids, Miss Sandra Dimashio and Christina Ferritto wore pink knee-length dresses with matching shoes and hats. They carried bouquets of spring flowers. Youngest members at the wedding were Miss Carla Dimashio (aged four) and Angela Carolla. They wore lavender organza dresses and carried posies of spring flowers. Mr. Michael O’Leary was the best man.


News Articles

Chime gentlemen please – but do it quietly

THE battle of the ice cream chimes, which has been noisily raging for months in local estates, is likely to be a much quieter one — thanks partly to a Mitcham man.

The Ice Cream Alliance, to which about 95 per cent of Britain’s ice cream vendors belong, have issued a code of conduct which should lessen the complaints about musical vans — if
it is obeyed.

Mr. L. Dimashio, London Road, Mitcham, owner of a milk bar and a fleet of ice cream vans,
helped to formulate the code. He is a former president of the Ice Cream Alliance.
Now a member of the executive council, he said: “Some time ago we foresaw the annoyance that would be caused if the chimes caught on. But we did not reckon on it happening so fast.”

Most complaints about the chimes have been from local housing estates — particularly
Glebe Estate and Pollards Hill.

Mr. M. Hedden, Glebe Court Tenants’ Association official said:
“ Although it is winter there has been no real improvement as far as the noise of the chimes is
concerned.

“ But it is in the summer when we really notice it. Then about five different vendors practically race round the estate.

Eldorado

“I did not know the Alliance existed. In the event of further complaints I shall certainly con-
sider writing to them.”

The company who have come in for most complaints at the Glebe Estate are Eldorado Ltd — NOT members of the Alliance. But a spokesman said: “ We are members of another organisation which is preparing its own code of conduct.”

The Alliance code of conduct says:

Chimes or similar mechanism should be kept at a minimum after 7 p.m. They must be sounded while the vehicle is on the move and at not more than five-minute intervals.

The volume should not be excessive. Tunes should be limited to a few bars.

Horns or bells should be sounded only at a few moments each time.

Particular stress is made on not annoying hospitals, night workers and nursing homes.

Source: Mitcham News & Mercury, 30th January, 1959, page 1.


Maps are reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.